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By GiL Young
Hello all. Thank you for taking a moment to read this & offer your suggestions/ advice. I'm sure my basic question has been asked many times: "In your opinion or experience, what are the first, most important, necessary accessories I should add in order to maximize the the use and ease of a newly acquired Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT ? I have a power supply adapter, 9mm,10mm, 25mm eyepieces, 2x Barlow and 90 degree diagonal mirror adaptor. With a modest budget and a 2 week deadline, I've researched numerous reviews and narrowed some choices to additional Plossl eyepieces, an assortment of filters or a dew shield. All of and these can probably be purchased within my budget but I'm even willing to take the plunge on an upgrade to a better mount, which I have no idea where to start. Any and all suggestions, advice and opinions are gladly appreciated. Thank you all, from across the pond in northeastern US.
Lots of astro kit for sale! Payment via bank transfer or PayPal (buyer to pay fees). Reasonable offers considered.
1. Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro Outfit with auto focuser upgrade -- £350
Comes with diagonal, 28mm 2” eyepiece, 2" to 1.25" eyepiece adapter, dovetail, tube rings, SkyWatcher Auto Focuser, HitecAstro DC Focus Controller USB, metal case. Approx. cost new: £562. Buyer to collect from central Bristol, or buyer to arrange for a courier. Note: doesn’t come with a finder / guider, but I have some available (listed below).
Main items similar to:
2. Sky-Watcher .85x Reducer/Flattener for ED80 -- £120 inc. recorded delivery to mainland UK
3. Sky-Watcher Skymax 150 PRO -- £300
Comes with diagonal, 28mm 2” eyepiece, and dovetail. Note: doesn’t come with a finder / guider, but I have some available (listed below). Buyer to collect from central Bristol, or buyer can arrange for a courier.
It's an earlier version of this: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-150-pro.html
Works well with items 7, 8, and 9.
4. Sky-Watcher 9x50 and QHY5 mono guidescope -- £150 inc. recorded delivery to mainland UK
Includes T thread adapter attaching the QHY5 to the finderscope. Also includes kit to convert into a regular optical finderscope.
5. Sky-Watcher 9x50 Finderscope -- £30 inc. delivery to mainland UK
6. Sky-Watcher EQ3 PRO mount -- £220
In pretty good condition, and includes the handset for full goto functionality. Unboxed. Buyer to collect from central Bristol, or buyer can arrange for a courier.
It's an earlier version of this: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq3-pro-synscan-goto.html
7. Astrozap Dew Heater Tape, 6" 'scope -- £30 inc. delivery to mainland UK
8. Astrozap Flexible Dew Shield for Skymax 150 -- £20 inc. delivery to mainland UK
9. StarSharp Bahtinov Focus Mask 150mm Maksutov -- £10 inc. delivery to mainland UK
Items 1 and 4:
Items 3, 5, 7:
The area I live has a fair amount of ambient light from street lighting, neighbors window, porch lights and so on. Just wanted to ask those who have used a dew shield with a CPC 1100 or other SCT - can use of a dew shield significantly improve visual contrast on planets and DSOs? I rarely have had problems with dew though.
1. DEW SHIELD
I've completed a pair of dew shields for my 16x70 binos. I used a 10mm thickness Mountain Warehouse camping mat paired to some 50mm Valcro with additional strong glue to keep them stuck together.
For the first one, I used the full 50mm overlap on the Velcro to hold the ends together but they were quite hard to pull apart. So, for the second one, I used 50mm on one side of the Velcro and cut-down to 25mm on the other side of the Velcro.
Time will tell which is the best solution, then I can make up a "third one" to be the same as the best of the other two - if needed!
2. FILTER HOLDERS
My APM binos have 20mm of eye relief so I hope to make some filter holders from some of this matting.
I have some spare old 2" Skywatcher UHC and O3 filters in the loft, so I plan to experiment to see if I can construct something from the camping mat to fit them over the eyepieces of the binos.
After removing the rubber eyecups, I am left with a 2" diameter eyepiece which matches the circumference of these 2" filters.
So, I am making a 40mm wide & 210mm long camping mat "roll" that will fit exactly around the eyepiece. The ends wont overlap, they should just meet up and i will wrap the whole thing with Gorilla Tape to hold it "in a circle". This circle should then just push down over the eyepiece to hold the filters in place.
I will use some folded over gorilla tape segments to make a "rim" that the filter will "sit on" ( at a distance of 10mm from the top ) when pushed inside.
As the 2" filter is way more than the 30mm of the bino eyepiece lens, then as long as I dont block the central 30mm of the filter, the view should be unobstructed.
The glue is setting at the moment, if successful then I will post up some pics... (Blue Peter would be proud!)
Now the colder and damper nights are closing in I've found that I need to wipe off dew on my Celestron StarPointer pro finder quite often as it is pretty exposed to the elements normally (see third photo below), so I set about making a home made dew shield with some foam sheet (£1), and some Velcro (£2.50) to hold it in place. The results are below, which whilst not maybe a work of art does the job of keeping dew off the finder, and allows access to the controls on it still too. Total cost £3.50